Imatges de pÓgina

of Hogarth, who has effected with his brush what Shakspere has accomplished with his pen. "Young boys are mischievous, hard-hearted little torments, who try their prentice hand on cats and donkeys, and even on inoffensive birds, and so perfect themselves in the acts by which they arrive at manhood, when they will work woe and destruction among their fellowmen." (The Owlet of Owlstone Edge.)

We need not look far into the works of our great Dramatist to find proofs of his appreciation of the kindness towards the brute creation which the Bible invariably inculcates. Let us take his celebrated description of the wounded stag:

Come shall we go and kill us venison ?
And yet it irks me, the poor dappled fools-
Being native burghers of this desert city,-
Should in their own confines, with forked heads,
Have their round haunches gored.

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Indeed my lord
The melancholy Jaques grieves at that.-
To day, my lord of Amiens, and myself
Did steal behind him, as he lay along
Under an oak, whose antique root peeps out
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood;
To the which place a poor sequester'd stag,
That from the hunter's aim had ta'en a hurt,
Did come to languish; and indeed my lord,
The wretched animal heav'd forth such groans,
That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
Almost to bursting: and the big round tears
Cours'd one another down his innocent nose
In piteous chase: and thus the hairy fool,
Stood on the extremest verge of the swift brook,
Augmenting it with tears.-—

But what said Jaques?

Did he not moralize this spectacle?

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yes, into a thousand similies.

First, for his weeping in the needless stream;


Poor deer," quoth he, " thou mak'st a testament

As worldlings do, giving the sum of more

To that which had too much: " Then, being alone,
Left and abandon'd of his velvet friends;

""Tis right" quoth he "thus misery doth part
The flux of company:'
Anon, a careless herd,

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Full of the pasture, jumps along by him,

And never stays to greet him; "Ay," quoth Jaques,
Sweep on you fat and greasy citizens;


'Tis just the fashion: wherefore do you look
Upon that poor and broken bankrupt there?"
As You Like It, ii. 1.

To take another example: Who, but a true Poet of Nature, and a man of the most exquisite and kindly sensibilities, could have written the following lines upon a hunted hare?

The purblind hare,

Mark the poor wretch, to overshoot his troubles,
How he outruns the wind, and with what care

He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles.

But the pitiless chase still continues, and the minutes of the poor fugitive are numbered:

By this, poor Wat, far off, upon a hill,
Stands on his hinder legs; with list'ning ear,
To hearken if his foes pursue him still;
Anon their loud alarums he doth hear;
And now his grief may be compared well
To one sore sick, that hears the passing-bell.
Then shalt thou see the dew-bedabbled wretch,
Turn and return, indenting with the way;
Each envious briar his weary legs doth scratch,
Each shadow makes him stop, each murmur stay;
For misery is trodden down by many
And being low, never relieved by any.

Poems. Venus and Adonis.

"Nature" says our Poet "teaches beasts to know their friends."2 "The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib, 993 says the Inspired Prophet. And those who (in the words of Shakspere) give their animals "provender only for bearing burdens, and sore blows for sinking under them," deserve as a recompense for their cruelty, to learn

1 Proverbs, xiv. 20. 2 Coriolanus, ii. 1.

3 Isaiah, i. 3.

by bitter experience, what it is to have a loaded back and an empty stomach.

There is a very notable prophecy delivered by Cranmer, on the birth of the Princess Elizabeth; a prophecy which I shall venture to set down in full, not only because it is mainly expressed in terms derived from Holy Scripture, but also because, in the happy age in which we live, the prophecy has received a more complete fulfilment.

This royal infant,—heaven still move about her!
Though in her cradle, yet now promises
Upon this land a thousand thousand blessings,
Which time shall bring to ripeness. She shall be
A pattern to all princes living with her,
And all that shall succeed; Sheba was never
More covetous of wisdom and fair virtue

Than this pure soul shall be all princely graces,
That mould up such a mighty piece as this is,
With all the virtues that attend the good,

Shall still be doubled on her: truth shall nurse her;
Holy and heavenly thoughts still counsel her;

She shall be lov'd and fear'd: her own shall bless her ;2

Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn,

And hang their heads with sorrow: good grows with her,
In her days every man shall eat in safety
Under his own vine what he plants,3 and sing
The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours.4
God shall be truly known; and those about her
From her shall read the perfect ways of honour,
And by those claim their greatness, not their blood.5
Nor shall peace sleep with her but as when
The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
Her ashes new create another heir,

As great in admiration, as herself;

So shall she leave her blessedness to one

(When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness)
Who from the sacred ashes of her honour

Shall star-like rise, as great in fame, as she was,

And so stand fix'd. Peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,
That were the servants to this chosen infant,
Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him;
Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
His honour and the greatness of his name

2 Proverbs, xxxi. 28.

1 1 Kings, x. 1.
4 Isaiah, xvi. 10.

3 Micah, iv. 4.

5 Proverbs, xxxi. 25.

Shall be and make new nations; he shall flourish,
And like a mountain cedar, reach his branches

To all the plains about him. Our children's children
Shall see this and bless heaven.-King Henry VIII., v. 4.

The transition from Peace and Plenty to "lean famine, quartering steel, and climbing fire," is rapid and easy, not only in imagination, but in reality. The scene suddenly changes. The vine under which its owner ate in quiet security, "the vine, the merry cheerer of the heart unpruned dies." Instead of the "merry songs of peace," we are affrighted by the harsh and discordant sounds of war; "sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air are made not mark'd."-Macbeth, iv. 3.

Frighted are pale-fac'd villagers with war

And ostentation of despised arms.—King Richard II., ii. 3. Where smiling Peace was sitting enthroned, "The mailed Mars does on his altar sit up to the ears in blood."-King Henry IV., iv. 1. Such are the horrors of war, as described by our Poet, who moreover inculcates the important lesson, that nothing but the sternest necessity can warrant a nation in breaking off its relationships of peace with its neighbours.

How you awake the sleeping sword of war
We charge you, in the name of God, take heed.
King Henry V., i. 2.

There is another passage in Shakspere, which bears a very close resemblance to the words of our Blessed Lord on

the same subject:

When we mean to build,

We first survey the plot, then draw the model,

And when we see the figure of the house,

Then must we rate the cost of the erection :

Which if we find outweighs ability,

1 Psalm xcii. 12.

2 King Henry VI., Part II., iv. 2.

3 Judges, ix. 13.

What do we then, but draw anew the model,
In fewer offices; or at least, desist

To build at all? Much more in this great work
(Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down
And set another up) should we survey
The plot of situation, and the model.
Consent upon a sure foundation;

Question surveyors; know our own estate,
How able such a work to undergo,
To weigh against his opposite; or else,
We fortify on paper, and in figures,
Using the names of men instead of men ;
Like one that draws the model of a house

Beyond his power to build it; who, half through,
Gives o'er and leaves his part-created cost
A naked subject to the weeping clouds,
And waste for churlish winter's tyranny.

King Henry IV., Part II., i. 3.

The resemblance between this passage, and the words of our Blessed Lord, recorded in Luke xiv., 28, &c., is too striking to escape observation: "Which of you intending to build a tower sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off he sendeth an ambassage and desireth conditions of peace.'

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Moreover the Scripture assures us, that War is one of the four sore judgments which God sends as a punishment upon nations:1 that the issues of it are uncertain; and that it is God, and He alone, who gives, or withholds the victory. In exact accordance with these statements we read in Shakspere:

1 Ezekiel, xiv. 21.

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